UK engineering forum’s tool aims to drive up safety standards worldwide

Four of the UK’s largest engineering firms have collaborated to launch a health and safety assessment tool for international projects.

The Consultant H&S Forum – set up by Arup, Atkins, Halcrow and Mott MacDonald – has worked with ConstructionSkills to develop the self-assessment, computer-based tool. Aimed at professionals and managers working in both consulting and contracting firms, it will offer a standardised approach to assessment and is hoped will raise health and safety awareness and drive up standards in countries outside the UK.

The tool is based on the ConstructionSkills health and safety test that is used for the CPCS and CSCS card schemes but with the questions tailored to international projects.

The tool’s development followed an 18-month trial by Atkins in the Middle East. Lessons that came out of the project included making the tool portable – it is contained on a simple memory stick rather than being web-based – and the need for terminology specific to local regions.

Arup, Atkins, Halcrow and Mott MacDonald will now roll out the assessment on projects in the Middle East, Africa, India, North America and Asia Pacific, but the tool is also available to other companies through ConstructionSkills.

Peter Gammie, chief executive of Halcrow, said: “The application and approach to health and safety varies from region to region. The introduction of the international health and safety test across our business means that we have a real opportunity to save lives and reduce accidents on construction sites across the world. By establishing the test as a basic requirement we hope that other organisations will adopt this system and in turn help raise international health and safety standards.”

According to the International Labour Organization, 360,000 people suffer fatal work-related accidents each year, with construction workers three to four times more likely than average to die from accidents at work.